J.R. Wilco of the San Antonio Spurs blog Pounding the Rock texted me shortly after the end of the Memphis-Indiana game Wednesday night. The Grizzlies win in that contest finalized the postseason matchups, completing San Antonio's slide from the second seed to the sixth seed in a matter of a couple of hours. And as the sixth seed, the Spurs become the first round opponent for the Clippers. Great.
J.R. wanted my reaction: and basically, it's this. It sucks that one of the three best teams in the NBA this season will be out of the playoffs no later than a couple of days into May.
The Clippers closed the season winning 14 of their final 15 games. The Spurs had won 11 in a row before losing in their final game. Golden State is clearly the best team in the NBA this season, but with apologies to Atlanta and Cleveland and Houston and Memphis, the Clippers and Spurs are clearly two and three. No matter how you slice it -- net efficiency, recent performance -- these are the second and third best teams in the league, and by definition one of them will be done after the first round.
But thank goodness the Northwest Division champs get their four seed. That's what really matters, right?
The Spurs have the experience. But the Clippers should be hungrier. And let's face it, the Clippers will have to go through them at some point, in some postseason, if they want to get where they're going. I guess it's better to have home court advantage than to not have it.
I'll have much more to say about the series. About dealing with Kawhi Leonard, a player for whom the Clippers have no answer. About the dismaying prospect of Gregg Popovich fouling DeAndre Jordan 27 times per game, just cuz he's a prick. About the Clippers' bench and the need for Jamal Crawford to step up. About the point guard matchup between Chris Paul and Tony Parker. About Blake Griffin versus Duncan.
But for now, let's just say that it should be a great series -- and it stinks that it is happening so soon.